The No. 16 Michigan and No. 7 N.C. State wrestling teams both sport top-ranked wrestlers in multiple weight classes, but the lineups from both teams in their dual meet meant that bonus points and a few close matches would ultimately decide the outcome.
The Wolverines got off to a strong start in their last dual meet of the season. They started in the heart of their lineup, with three straight wins starting at the 157-pound weight class. Ninth-ranked senior Brian Murphy delivered a 7-4 decision to put Michigan up 3-0. No. 2 redshirt freshman 165-pounder Logan Massa nearly got a technical fall in the final seconds of his match, but could not secure his final takedown, putting Michigan up 7-0. No. 8 freshman 174-pounder Myles Amine had a dominant finish to his match, riding out his opponent the entire third period to a 5-2 decision.
After the first three matches, the Wolverines had a 10-0 lead, but then the Wolfpack stormed back. N.C. State’s No. 11 184-pounder Michael Macchiavello started to swing the momentum with an 18-7 major decision.
One of the closer matchups of the dual came at the 197-pound weight class, between redshirt freshman Jackson Striggow and N.C. State’s No. 25 Malik McDonald. Striggow captured an early lead, but McDonald outlasted him for a 9-5 win, narrowing the wolfpack’s deficit to three.
In the heavyweight class, junior Payne Hayden was quickly pinned by the N.C. State’s Mike Kosoy. Hayden was slow to get up, and clearly shaken, but it was unclear how he was injured. Kosoy’s dominant show against Hayden put Michigan down 10-13.
The closest match occurred in the 125-pound match between Michigan senior Conor Youtsey —No. 18— and N.C. State’s No. 12 Sean Fausz. Youtsey had a 3-0 lead heading into the third period, but Fausz scored a last-second takedown to force overtime. Youtsey shot a single leg at the start of overtime, but Fausz scored on a counterattack, to give the Wolfpack a 16-10 lead.
With the momentum firmly in favor of NC State after earning 16 unanswered points, Michigan’s No. 7 freshman Stevan Micic had to deliver to keep the match close (against No. 18 Jamal Morris). He did just that, with a dominant win, securing the technical fall with a feet-to-back trip in the final moments of the match.
“It was pretty loud in there, the place was pretty packed and everyone was screaming,” Micic said. “But I was pretty focused on what I had to do.”
Micic kept Michigan in the match, as the Wolverines trailed by only one leading into redshirt freshman Sal Profaci’s match.
Profaci had a tough task ahead of him, wrestling second-ranked Kevin Jack from N.C. State, and he fell 19-5. The final match was very close for redshirt sophomore Zac Hall, and was ultimately decided on riding time in favor of NC State. This put the final score at 23-15.
“They were a good team. They had proven it over the season,” said Michigan coach Joe McFarland. “If maybe a few things hadn’t happened, a few things gone our way, we could’ve come away with it. But in the end we competed hard, and that’s what matters as we shift into tournament mode.”
Michigan will be headed to the Big Ten Championships in three weeks, and soon after that to the NCAA championships, but if the Wolverines wants to be successful heading forward, they will need to make a few more things go their way.